Hardvard-Westlake pitcher Jack Flaherty throws to first base during the… (Patrick T. Fallon / For the…)
From the first day Jack Flaherty walked on the Harvard-Westlake High campus as a freshman two years ago, he was projected to be a baseball standout. He had the size, the work ethic and the cool, calm demeanor that signified star quality in his future.
It all came together during his junior season. As a hitter, he batted .360 with two home runs and 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts. As a pitcher, he had a 13-0 record with an 0.63 earned-run average. He walked only 10 batters in 89 innings and struck out 112.
In the Southern Section Division 1 championship game at Dodger Stadium, Flaherty drove in the game's only run and threw a shutout against Huntington Beach Marina.
Flaherty is the Los Angeles Times' player of the year in high school baseball.
Flaherty has been on the Harvard-Westlake varsity since he was a freshman, but he had failed to win a playoff game in either of his first two seasons.
But this year he grew into his 6-foot-4 frame and was bigger and stronger.
"The addition of a few miles per hour on my fastball made me better," Flaherty said. "I was consistently executing my pitches."
Said Coach Matt LaCour: "The slider has become a real pitch for him. Last year, it was good. This year, it was great."
Flaherty's success on the mound could leave professional scouts uncertain about his best position. In the past, hitting was considered his strength.
"I still think he's a position player first," LaCour said. "He's too athletic. Some of the things he can do at third base you don't see — the graceful movement."
Flaherty, who has committed to North Carolina, has a busy summer ahead with competitions, showcases and all-star games in several states.
"I'm going to try to keep getting better," he said. "Who knows what next year will bring."